(Host) The U.S. House has passed an amendment, sponsored by Congressman Bernie Sanders, that would prevent the Bush administration from closing down the Flight Service Station in Burlington. Sanders’ action could protect 32 air traffic specialist jobs in Burlington.
Several months ago, the Bush administration awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to privatize the jobs of 2,500 air traffic specialists around the country. The proposal calls for the closure of 38 local air traffic stations next year – including the one in Burlington – and the elimination of a thousand jobs nationwide. The remaining air traffic specialists would be relocated to regional centers in various parts of the country.
Sanders strongly opposed the plan:
(Sanders) “And it’s an especially bad idea when you’re dealing with air safety at a time of terrorists. I want to make sure that the people who are watching planes coming and going and talking to pilots are highly skilled professional operatives, and not people who are working for low wages where there’s a whole lot of turnover and less than adequate training.”
(Host) The measure now goes to the U.S. Senate for its consideration. Sanders says he’s hopeful that the Senate will support the amendment as part of its review of next year’s transportation bill.